West Island organization comes to aid of local seniors
West Island Citizen Advocacy (WICA) has launched “Seniors Liaisons”, an outreach project aimed at providing much-needed practical support to under-served, vulnerable seniors, especially those in multicultural communities isolated by language and societal barriers.
“We have found that there are still many West Island seniors who are falling through the cracks because of social isolation and a limited community network and it’s our civic duty to make sure they get the help they need,” said Marla Newhook, Interim Director of WICA.
The Seniors Liaisons project is funded through an ITMAV grant through the Ministère de la Famille with the purpose of reaching out to those in need of social intervention on several aspects of their lives, including:
- Financial issues
- Housing problems
- Legal issues
- Language barrier
- Filling in government forms
- Pension applications and issues
- Abuse situations
- Health and Social Services
- Information request
- Emotional support
- Immigration matters
- Fraud issues
WICA has already been helping elderly West Islanders at risk through its Seniors Advocacy Project and the number of intervention cases have been steadily rising since it was started seven years ago.
“We will probably handle more than 200 different crisis situations before the end of the year, which far exceeds previous years,” said Newhook. The project, headed up by Nicole Thévenet, has dealt with seniors facing eviction from their homes, being financially abused, as well as seniors trying to maintain their independence while dealing with physical and cognitive issues.
The Seniors Liaisons project was developed as a valuable extension of Seniors Advocacy to ensure that vulnerable elders facing additional challenges, such as a cultural or language barrier, can resolve their problems before it becomes a crisis. The Seniors Liaisons team will be working closely with West Island municipalities, other organizations as well as the cultural community to create connections with seniors in need.
“Imagine not being able to communicate with your neighbours, not being able to access social services or navigate the health care network. That’s what our seniors are facing, and many of them are doing it alone without family or community support,” said Newhook.
For more information, please contact West Island Citizen Advocacy at 514-694-5850.